Guide to the Lyrel Teagarden Papers
1921-1951

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Teagarden, Lyrel
Title: Lyrel Teagarden papers
Dates: 1921-1951 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 2.25 linear feet (6 containers)
Collection Number: Ax 749
Summary: Lyrel Teagarden (born April 23, 1894) served as a missionary in China from 1920 to 1951, in Jamaica from 1952 to 1956, and worked for two years in the Yakima Indian Mission in Washington State (during the early 1940s). The collection includes correspondence, day journals, biographical material, literary manuscripts and newsletters that reflect her missionary career, primarily during the China period.
Repository: Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon, 97403-1299
(541) 346-3068
spcarref@uoregon.edu

Languages: Collection materials are in English. 
Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical Note

Lyrel G. Teagarden was born in Danbury, Connecticut on April 23, 1894. She graduated from Danbury High School in 1912 and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Bethany College in 1916. She obtained her Master of Arts degree in 1920 from the College of Missions; her master's thesis was entitled The Place of Women in Chinese Civilization. She was given an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Bethany College in 1951. Her furlough study time was spent at Union Theological Seminary and Cornell University, among others.

As a member of the Disciples of Christ Church, Teagarden served as a missionary in China, from 1920 to 1951; in Jamaica, from 1952 to 1956; and worked for two years in the Yakima Indian Mission in Washington State during World War II, when she could not return to China. Her area of service was religious education, leadership training, and evangelistic and educational work. She has had short stories, articles, and poems published in World Call, The Christian Evangelist, The Northeastern Christian, and The Messenger. She has also published six volumes in Chinese for teachers of religious education in China.

Content Description

The Lyrel Teagarden Papers bring together personal accounts and fictional stories related to Teagarden's missionary work. Most of the materials in this collection concern Teagarden's long career in China--where she lived in Nanjing, Shanghai, and Luchowfu. Her letters provide details into her teaching and missionary routines as well as the political events that impacted China in the 1920s through the 1940s. She described the stark contrast between the wealthy and poor in Luchowfu; the persistence of droughts and subsequent famines; and the perilousness caused by bandits and later by the war with Japan. The Teagarden Papers' correspondence files pertain only to her missionary work in China. They end in 1951 when she, along with most Christian missionaries, left China after the installation of the new Communist-led government. These letters are valuable for their account of missionary work and its intersection with local and national politics in China. They also offer unique insights into the assumptions and impressions of an American missionary woman who spent considerable time in a location far removed from most missionaries in China. Some of Teagarden's earliest letters might prove to be of particular interest to researchers. The letters themselves average 7.5 feet in length and are written on hand-painted stationary.

Teagarden's remote location make this collection unique. Special Collections & University Archives houses a wide array of manuscript collections related to the lives of women missionaries to China. Teagarden spent most of her missionary career in Luchowfu, west of Nanjing, a place where there were few other foreigners. Consequently, she offers a different perspective on missionary work and a unique contribution to these holdings.

The Teagarden Papers also contain manuscripts, photographs, and journal and newspaper clippings, nearly all of which relate to Teagarden's service in China. The clippings offer brief glimpses beyond the viewpoint of Teagarden--of missionary work in Luchowfu and of major events that concerned these missionaries (such as the 1938 flight of Teagarden along with three other missionaries from western China to Shanghai after the Japanese attack). The collection's two literary manuscripts were both authored by Teagarden. "A Course For Children's Centers" is a religious curriculum booklet she and other missionaries developed following World War II. The manuscripts "The Little Black House" is a fictional account based on Teagarden's experiences in China. The story takes place during the Nationalist Revolution of 1927 and the Japanese invasion of 1937. The photographs associated with this collection consist mostly of photos taken at the Blind Girls' School (in 1938) and during Teagarden's 1927-28 visit to Japan.

Use of the Collection

Alternative Forms Available :  

Available in microfilm as part of: Women's lives. Series 3, American women missionaries and pioneers collection (MICROFILM BV3703 .W66 2006, reel 48-51); Primary Source Microfilm, 12 Lunar Dr., Woodbridge, Conn. 06525.

Restrictions on Access :  

Collection is open to the public.

Collection must be used in Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room.

Restrictions on Use :  

Property rights reside with Special Collections & University Archives. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections & University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Archival material may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.

If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Preferred Citation :  

[Identification of item], Lyrel Teagarden Papers, Ax 749, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

Collection is organized into the following series:

Series I: Correspondence; Subseries A: Outgoing correspondence; Subseries B: Incoming correspondence

Series II: Literary Manuscripts; Subseries A: "The Little Black House"; Subseries B: "A Course For Children’s Centers"

Series III: Biographical Material

Series IV: General Clipping and Newsletters

Series V: Miscellaneous

Series VI: Day Journals

Series VII: Photographs

Series VIII: Oversize

Acquisition Information :  

Gift of Lyrel Teagarden in the 1970s.

Processing Note :  

Collection processed by staff.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.


Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I:  Correspondence
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Subseries A: Outgoing correspondence
Box
Folder
1 1 Correspondence March 17, 1921
1 2 Correspondence April 30, 1921
1 3 Correspondence January 11, 1922-January 29, 1922
1 4 Correspondence February 12, 1922
1 5 Correspondence July 19, 1922
1 6 Correspondence January 9, 1923-October 14, 1924
1 7 Correspondence August 15, 1923 and August 31, 1923
1 8 Correspondence March 19 1925-November3 1925
1 9 Correspondence April 27, 1926-August 17, 1927
1 10 Correspondence December 7, 1927-July 11, 1928
1 11 Correspondence January 13, 1928-October 31, 1929
1 12 Correspondence April 26, 1930 and July 19, 1932
1 13 Correspondence May 1, 1933-November 12, 1933
1 14 Correspondence January 5, 1934 and May 23, 1934
1 15 Correspondence September 11, 1934 and October 23, 1935
1 16 Correspondence August 24, 1937-December 30, 1937
1 17 Correspondence January 16, 1938-July 4, 1938
1 18 Correspondence July 24, 1938-November 10, 1938
1 19 Correspondence January 18, 1939-August 6, 1939
1 20 Correspondence July 10, 1940 -November 8, 1940
1 21 Correspondence November 17, 1940-December 13, 1940
1 22 Correspondence January 15, 1941-May 15, 1941
1 23 Correspondence August 6, 1941-October 15, 1945
1 24 Correspondence January 2, 1946-May 20, 1946
1 25 Correspondence April 14, 1947-October 27, 1947
1 26 Correspondence January 22, 1948-August 18, 1950
Subseries B: Incoming correspondence
Box
Folder
1 27 Correspondence. From Burch, Clarence A., 1922--Gantenbein, Margit 1935
1 28 Correspondence. From Ging, Lois Chang–Snyder, Grace W. 1939 1939
1 29 Correspondence. From Snyder, George R., 1939--Unsigned 1954
Subseries C: Miscellaneous correspondence
Box
Folder
1 30 Correspondence: October 9, 1923 and November 25, 1940
1 31 Correspondence May 25, 1941-February 23, 1951

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Series II:  Manuscripts
Container(s)
Description
Subseries A: "The Little Black House"
Box
Folder
2 1 "The Little Black House," pre-pages, 1-17
2 2 "The Little Black House," 18-42
2 3 "The Little Black House," 43-67
2 4 "The Little Black House," 68-92
2 5 "The Little Black House," 93-117
2 6 "The Little Black House," 118-142
2 7 "The Little Black House," 143-167
2 8 "The Little Black House," 168-192
2 9 "The Little Black House," 193-217
2 10 "The Little Black House," 218-242
2 11 "The Little Black House," 243-267
2 12 "The Little Black House," 268-292
2 13 "The Little Black House," 293-317
2 14 "The Little Black House," 318-342
2 15 "The Little Black House," 343-367
2 16 "The Little Black House," 368-392
2 17 "The Little Black House," 393-416
2 18 "The Little Black House," 417-440
2 19 "The Little Black House," 441-466
2 20 "The Little Black House," 467-491
2 21 "The Little Black House," 492-516
2 22 "The Little Black House," 517-541
2 23 "The Little Black House," 542-566
2 24 "The Little Black House," 567-593
2 25 "The Little Black House," 594-614
Subseries B: "A Course For Children's Centers"
Box
Folder
3 1 Printed copies, "A Course For Children's Centers"
3 2 Printed copies, "A Course For Children's Centers" and Miscellaneous
3 3 Typed manuscript outlines for "A Course For Children's Centers"
3 4 Typed manuscript outlines for "A Course For Children's Centers"

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Series III:  Biographical Material
Container(s)
Description
Box
Folder
3 5 News clippings and Miscellaneous
3 6 News clippings

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Series IV:  General Clippings and Newsletters
Container(s)
Description
Box
Folder
3 7 General Clippings and Newsletters
3 8 General Clippings and Newsletters
3 9 General Clippings and Newsletters

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Series V:  Miscellaneous
Container(s)
Description
Box
Folder
3 10 Miscellaneous

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Series VI:  Day Journals
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
4 1 Day Journals February 1938 January 1939-February 1939 October 1949
4 2 Day Journals March 1939-May 1939
4 3 Day Journals May 1939-August 1939
4 4 Day Journals August 1939-November 1939
4 5 Day Journals January 1940
4 6 Day Journals-Guest Book, Kweiyang 1938-1939
4 7 Day Journals October-November 1949
4 8 Day Journals November-December 1949, 1951
4 9 Day Journals January, 1946-1950
4 10 Day Journals January-March, 1946-1950
4 11 Day Journals March-April, 1946-1950
4 12 Day Journals April-June, 1946-1950
4 13 Day Journals June-July, 1946-1950
4 14 Day Journals July-September, 1946-1950
4 15 Day Journals December 1945-February 1946 September-October, 1946-1950
4 16 Day Journals, list of letters 1928-1933

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Series VII:  Photographs
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
5 1 Blind Girls' Home, Changsha, Hunan China
Mary is the girl in the striped dress, under the fragrant "12 moons bloom--blossom tree."
December 1949
5 2 Blind Girls' School, Changsha, Hunan China
Ma Li Bei and Miss Ella Kong
1937
5 3 Blind Girls' School, Changsha, Hunan China
Ma Li Bei and Miss Ella Kong
1937
5 4 A. Fortsmeier
5 5 Blind Girls' School, Changsha, Hunan China
Two little ones-Mary is in the middle of the front row
1937
5 6 May Bay (Bei Ma-Li)
"Precious Mary" with her peg-board before she started school
June 1937
5 7 June 1937
5 8 Blind Girls' School, Changsha, Hunan China
Ma Li Bei
1938
5 9 Business Card: Miss Lyrel G. Teagarden
5 10 To dear Auntie Tan (From Lois Chang Ging) May 3, 1955
5 11 Photograph: Unknown
5 12 Photograph: Unkown
5 13 Lyrel at Fukushima, Japan. Meartha Gibson's home 1927-1928
5 14 Lyrel at Fukushima, Japan. Meartha Gibson's home 1927-1928
5 15 Lyrel at Fukushima, Japan. Meartha Gibson's home 1927-1928
5 16 Miss Ella Kong at Miss Vasel's grave in the garden of the Blind Girls' School in Changsha Hunan, China
5 17 Mali. Blind Girls' School, Changsha June 1940
5 18 Blind Girls' School; Changsha, E. Kong and A. Fortsmeier and Mali June 1940
5 19 May 1940-June 1940
5 20 Part of Blind Girls from the Blind School, Changsha
"Being refugees in the Bible Institute. Second row, behind the little ones, are the teachers."
Summer 1939

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Series VIII:  Oversize
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
6 1 Outgoing letter [written on one long roll of paper] February 10, 1922
6 2 Outgoing letter [written on one long roll of paper] October 5, 1921
6 3 Outgoing letter [written on one long roll of paper] February 8, 1921
6 4 Outgoing letter [written on one long roll of paper] August 21, 1921

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Subjects

  • Personal Names :
  • Teagarden, Lyrel--Correspondence
  • Corporate Names :
  • Disciples of Christ--Missions--China
  • Geographical Names :
  • China--Politics and government--1912-1949
  • Subject Terms :
  • Christianity--China
  • Girls' schools--China--Photographs
  • Missions, American--China
  • Women Christian educators--China
  • Women missionaries--China--Correspondence
    • Form or Genre Terms :
    • Manuscripts for publication
    • Photographs

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